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December 20, 2014

Light, Escapist Shows Rise to the Head of the Freshman Class of 2009-10

by Gary Susman, posted Apr 30th 2010 3:30PM
When the going gets tough, the tough veg out in front of the tube.

Variety's picks for the top new series of the 2009-10 season suggest that, in these tough times, viewers' favorite new shows were generally the light, escapist, family-friendly ones. Most were comedies (including 'Community,' 'Glee,' and 'Modern Family'), but even the dramas were low-key affairs ('Parenthood,' the strangely reassuring 'Good Wife,' the fantasy 'Vampire Diaries').

Of the four new dramas on the list, only one was a crime procedural ('NCIS: Los Angeles'). Even the one reality show on the list was one that didn't involve competition and elimination ('Undercover Boss').

In contrast, heavier new dramas (the apocalyptic 'FlashForward' and 'V') haven't done well. The most prominent new comedy to fail, 'Hank,' was the grim tale of a downsized CEO trying to put his life back together.

The top 11 shows cited by Variety, however, will all be back next year, even though only one of them reached the top 10 among all shows. Also returning are honorable-mention newbies 'The Marriage Ref' and 'Who Do You Think You Are?,' both light reality fare.

Here's Variety's top 11 list, along with each show's average rating among the coveted 18-49 demographic. Apparently, Variety is grading on a curve, with some shows (like 'Vampire Diaries') making up in buzz what they lack in actual viewers.

11. 'The Middle,' 2.2
10. 'Community,' 2.5
9. 'Cougar Town,' 3.1
8. 'Parenthood,' 3.3
7. 'The Good Wife,' 2.7
6. 'The Cleveland Show'
5. 'NCIS: Los Angeles,' 3.5
4.'The Vampire Diaries,' 1.5
3. 'Undercover Boss,' 6.2
2. 'Glee,' 3.8
1. 'Modern Family,' 3.7

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